The “inadvertently” deleted copy contained 6,700 classified documents on torture techniques used on prisoners by the CIA following the 9/11 terror attacks. Only about 500 pages of the report were declassified and released by the committee chair, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), in December of 2014.
Former CIA analyst John Kiriakou, who served time in jail for being the first to blow the whistle on the CIA’s use of waterboarding, told RT he was not surprised that the agency is saying it had destroyed the copy.
Kiriakou was surprised, however, at the agency’s attempts to convince the committee that the erasure had been an accident.
“It is not an accident. You can’t accidentally destroy a 6,700 page document. You cannot accidentally destroy the electronic copy, especially when these documents are numbered. There are only about a dozen that exist anywhere in the world,”Kiriakou said.
“Someone would have to physically go into the safe in Office of the General Counsel, pull out this document, which comes in many parts, it is so long it can’t sit by itself, and take the time to physically destroy it. It doesn’t make any sense. It is not how the CIA works,” he added.
The report was distributed to a number of different agencies, including the CIA, to prevent it from disappearing. News of the deletion, alleged to have happened a year ago, was privately passed on to the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department, but only reported to the public in a story by Yahoo News this week.
Feinstein wrote to CIA director John Brennan this week after Yahoo broke the story to ask him to replace the copy.
“Your prompt response will allay my concern that this was more than ‘accident.’ The CIA IG should have a copy of the full Study because the report includes extensive information directly related to the IG’s ongoing oversight of the CIA,” wrote Feinstein.
RT asked Kiriakou if he thought the agency was trying to make the report disappear.
“Everything the CIA has told us about this program from the very beginning has been a lie,” Kiriakou told RT. “The CIA said they weren’t torturing prisoners. That was a lie. The CIA said they were not sending people to third countries to undergo torture. That was a lie. The CIA said they were not sending people to secret prisons around the world. That was a lie.”
“John Brennan [ CIA director]… said he did not have his employees spy on Senate investigators. That was a lie. My question is why should we believe anything John Brennan says when everything that he has told the American people has been a lie?” he added.
Kiriakou told RT that, for much of her Senate career, Feinstein had been “little more than a cheerleader for the CIA,” but that all changed when Brennan ordered CIA employees to break into the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s computers and spy on what the Senate investigators were doing.
“Now Dianne Feinstein is one of the loudest voices calling for John Brennan to do his job and calling for enhanced oversight over the CIA,” he added.
A CIA spokesman told RT that they had retained a copy of the Senate’s Torture Report since first receiving it, and that they would continue to keep the copy, pending the final result of a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Civil Liberties Union
If that request is unsuccessful, Kiriakou told RT that the only way the public could see the full 6,700-page report would be for something heroic to happen.
It would take a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to submit it into evidence as part of a committee hearing or sub-committee hearing, causing it to be automatically released to the American people. Only a senator could do that without facing legal repercussions.
“We thought perhaps former Senator [Mark] Udall from Colorado would have the guts to do it. He didn’t. Perhaps there is another senator who may,” said Kiriakou.